Colombia Politics

Colombia Politics, Population and Geography

General information: Colombia was one of three countries formed after the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). The 40-year-old insurgency against the government intensified in the 1990s, thanks in part to funding from the drug trade. Despite mass violence and the transfer of large rural areas to the control of the guerrillas, the movement lacks the strength or popular support to overthrow the government. As Bogotá continues to try to negotiate with the rebels, neighboring countries are worried that the violence is affecting their territories. See to know more about Colombia History.


Location: Northern South America, Caribbean coast between Panama and Venezuela, North Pacific coast between Ecuador and Panama.
Geographical coordinates: 4° 00′ N. latitude, 72° 00′ W
Reference map: South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Area: total: 1,138,910 km2; land surface area: 1,038,700 km2; water surface area: 100,210 km2; note: including Malpelo Island, Roncador Island, Serrana Bank and Serranilla Bank.
Comparative area: Slightly less than triple the area of ​​Montana.
Land borders: total: 6,004 km; with neighboring states: with Brazil 1,643 km, with Ecuador 590 km, with Panama 225 km, with Peru 1,496 km, with Venezuela 2,050 km.
Coastline: 3,208 km (Caribbean 1,760 km, North Pacific 1,448 km).
Maritime claims: continental shelf: to a depth of 200 m or to the depth of field development; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: Tropical along the coast and in the eastern plains, cooler in the highlands.
Terrain: flat coastal lowlands; central plateaus; the high mountains of the Andes; low plains in the east.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m; highest point: Cristobal Colón peak 5,775 m.
Natural resources: oil, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower.
Land use: arable land: 4%; cultivated land: 1%; pastures: 39%; forests and plantations: 48%; others: 8% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 5,300 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: volcanic eruptions; earthquakes happen from time to time; periodic droughts.
Current environmental issues: deforestation; soil damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogotá, from vehicle emissions.
International environmental treaties: party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 1983, Tropical Timber 1994, Wetlands; signed but not ratified: Antarctica – Protocol on Environmental Protection, Law of the Sea, Marine Pollution.
Geography Note: The only country in South America with a coastline along both the North Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.


Population: 40,349,288 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 31.88% (male 6,507,282; female 6,354,454); 15 to 64 years old: 63.37% (male 12,452,182; female 13,117,707); over 65: 4.75% (male 859,967; female 1,057,796) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 1.64% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 22.41 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 5.69 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -0.33 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male/female; up to 15 years: 1.02 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.95 male/female; over 65: 0.81 male/female; for the general population: 0.97 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 23.96 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 70.57 years; men: 66.71 years; women: 74.55 years (2001 est.).
Total fertility rate: 2.66 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.31% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 71,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 1,700 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Colombian; adjective: Colombian.
Ethnic groups: mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, sambo (descendants of blacks and Indians) 3%, Indians 1%.
Believers: Catholics 90%.
Language(s): Spanish.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 91.3%; men: 91.2%; women: 91.4% (1995 est.).


Common long form: Republic of Colombia;
conventional short form: Colombia; local long form: Republica de Colombia; local short form: Colombia
State structure: republic; the state structure is dominated by the executive branch.
Capital: Bogota.
Administrative divisions: 32 departments and 1 metropolitan area*: Amazonas, Antioquia, Ara-uca, Atlantico, Bolivar, Boyaca, Valle del Ca-uca, Vaupes, Vichado, Guaviare, Guainia, Caqueta, Caldas, Casanare, Cauca, Quindio, Córdoba, Cun Dinamarca, La Guajira, Magdalena, Meta, Nari-no, Putumayo, Risaralda, Sant Andree and Providencia, Santander, Santander North, Cesar, Santa Fe de Bogotá Metropolitan Area*, Sucre, Tolima, Huila, Choco.
Independence: from July 20, 1810 (until 1810 – a colony of Spain).
National holiday: Independence Day, July 20 (1810).
Constitution: adopted July 5, 1991
Legal system: based on Spanish law; the new criminal code was developed in the likeness of the American one, put into effect in 1992-93; consideration in court of acts of executive and legislative power; subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
head of state: President Andrée PASTRANA (since August 7, 1998); Vice President Gustavo BELL Lemus (since August 7, 1998); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of government: President Andrei PAST-RANA (since 7 August 1998); Vice President Gustavo BELL Lemus (since August 7, 1998); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
Government: cabinet; drawn up by a coalition of two dominant parties (PL and PSC) and independent deputies; elections: the president is elected by popular vote for a term of 4 years; elections last held 31 May 1998 (next to be held in May 2002); the vice president is elected by popular vote for a term of 4 years (under the new rules, instead of the traditional appointment of the vice president by the president-elect); elections last held 31 May 1998 (next to be held in May 2002); election results: no candidate received more than 50% of the total number of votes, so a second round of elections was held on June 21, 1998, in which the two leading candidates took part; Andrei PASTRANA elected president; the percentage of votes received is 50.3%; Gustavo BELL elected Vice President; the percentage of votes received is 50.3%.
Legislature: the bicameral Congress consists of the Senate (102 seats; members are elected by popular vote for 4 years) and the House of Representatives (163 seats; members are elected by popular vote for 4 years); elections: Senate – last held in March 1998 (next to be held in March 2002); House of Representatives – last held in March 1998 (next to be held in March 2002); election results: Senate, distribution of votes between parties: PL 50%, PSC 24%, small parties (many are allies of the conservatives) 26%; distribution of seats among parties: PL 58, PSC 28, small parties 16; House of Representatives, distribution of votes between parties: PL 52%, PSC 17%, other 31%; distribution of seats among parties: PL 98, PSC 52, indigenous parties 2, others 11.
Judiciary: four equal supreme judicial bodies; Supreme Court, High Criminal Court, judges are elected from candidates nominated by the High Council of Justice for 8 years; Council of State, supreme administrative court, judges are elected from candidates nominated by the High Council of Justice for 8 years; The Constitutional Court, protects the inviolability and supremacy of the constitution, is guided by constitutional laws, constitutional amendments and international treaties; High Council of Justice governing and supervising civilian judges, members of its disciplinary chamber resolve disputes over the jurisdiction of other courts, members are elected by the other three courts and Congress for 8 years.
Political parties and leaders: Conservative Party (PSC) (Ciro RAMIREZ Anzon); Liberal Party (PL) (Luis Guillermo VELEZ); Patriotic Union (UP) (legal political wing of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the Colombian Communist Party) (RCC) (Jaime CAICEDO); 19 April Movement (AD/M-19) (Antonio NAVARRO Wolff)
Political influence groups and their leaders: Colombia’s two largest rebel groups, the National Liberation Army (ELN); Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); the largest paramilitary group is the Colombian United Self-Defense Groups (AUC).
Participation in international organizations: ALL, CAN, Caricom (observer), CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-3, 6-11, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UN Security Council (temporary ), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
US Diplomatic Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Luis Alberto MORENO Mejia; office: 2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone: [1] (202) 387-8338; fax: [1] (202) 232-8643; consulates general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Washington (DC); Consulate: Atlanta.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Anne W. PATTERSON; embassy: CaWe 22D-BIS, numbers 47-51, Apartado Aereo 3831; mailing address: ARO AA 34038; phone: [57] (1) 315-0811; fax: [57] (1) 315-2197.
Flag description: three horizontal stripes of yellow (top, double width), blue and red; similar to the flag of Ecuador, which is longer and has the coat of arms of Ecuador in the center.

Colombia Politics